FRANKFURT, Jan. 10 (JTA) — Extremist incidents in the German army increased in 1998, according to Germany’s defense minister. Rudolf Scharping told a news conference in Bonn last week that the number of incidents rose sharply last summer, shortly after the army inducted a new batch of recruits. Scharping added that 301 members of the army, most of them new recruits, were involved in incidents of right-wing extremism last year. The incidents were largely propaganda offenses, ranging from graffiti on army buildings to soldiers wearing tattoos with the Nazi insignia. An army spokesman said the rise resulted in part from an increased readiness to report such incidents. The display or distribution of Nazi symbols is forbidden in Germany. Public concern about the issue has grown in the past few years after the German media uncovered extremist activities within the army, such as the production of a video with anti-foreigner and anti-Semitic content. Last month, Scharping told representatives of the American Jewish Committee that Germany is carefully monitoring such incidents.